Real Unemployment Rate: 11.3%

Tyler Durden's picture

There are job numbers, and then there are job numbers which make sense in the context of a US population that keeps rising.

By now the trick of lowering the unemployment rate courtesy of a "collapsing" labor force participation rate is known by all. As we showed earlier, the LFP, despite posting a tiny 0.1% uptick in May, was still at 30 year lows.

Another way of seeing the above is the following chart which shows the annual change in the total civilian non-institutional population side by side with the change in the labor force. That plunge since 2009? That must be all demographics, and nothing to do with the collapse in the economy...

This is just as stark when compared to the overall US population which rose by 188K jobs, meaning that the employment to population rate was flat at 58.6%, and has now been largely unchanged for the past five years.

What is laughable is that for all talk of demographic issues, the big drop started with the Great Financial Crisis, and has barely bottomed. This is even more laughable when one considers that it is the older workers, or those who supposedly should be retiring if one buys the propaganda narrative, who have seen the bulk of job gains in the past 5 years.

In short: this is merely a favorite BLS gimmick to push the unemployment rate lower for purely political reasons (to the benefit of the administration that makes the content of your emails the most transparent to NSA workers, ever).

The problem is that this transitory fudging gimmick would be sustainable if the US population was no longer rising, however since there is no indication of any taper on the horizon, sooner or later, the historical labor force participation rate will have to be regained. Logically, when that happens, the unemployment rate will have no choice but to soar as the Labor Force soars month after month because sadly even the great welfare state of America has only so much funds it can allocate to an inert population that does no work and merely sits around all day long.

So how does the narrow unemployment rate (U-3, not to be confused with the wider, Underemployment U-6 rate) look if one applies a longer-term average Labor Force Participation rate of 65.8%?

In a word: not pretty. As of May, assuming realistic LFP assumptions, the real U-3 unemployment rate should have been not 7.6% but 11.3%.

Luckily, we know that the administration couldn't possibly be fudging numbers maliciously, and for purely political purposes. Why: because it is too busy spying on those who are unemployed and have nothing better to do.

Speaking of, perhaps a better way to estimate the unemployment rate than the BLS' woefully inadequate and obsolete process would be for the NSA to keep a word count of how many times the word "job application" appears daily in the petabytes of electronic data it intercepts daily. We are confident that data series would be far more valuable than anything provided by the BLS.